Happy New Year! As we start to prepare for 2018 here at Casa - Pueblito, we wanted to share with you the incredible work you made possible in 2017. With your support, we were able to support 7 community-led projects in Central America, specifically in Nicaragua, that positively impacted hundreds of community members.
All our projects addressed locally - defined needs and were designed and implemented by our community partners themselves. Here are the 7 projects you made happen in 2017!
1. Installing Community Water Services in La Calera, Granada
In La Calera, we supported the community as they worked for water security. Together, we installed community water services that will provide, for the first time in the community’s history, immediate access to clean and safe water for 11 families. Before this project, community members had to walk to the nearest river for water for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing their clothes, a river which has increasingly been exposed to agro-chemicals and animal waste.
2. Building Latrines in in Jiñocuao - Phase 1
Our 2017 project with Jiñocuao resulted in the construction of 44 latrines for 44 local families. This project directly benefitted 216 people: 61 children, 31 youth, and 124 adults. The families who received latrines are the most vulnerable members of Jiñocuao, as determined by a community self-assessment. Additionally, as part of the project, nurses and nursing students from the local community health centre were invited to the community to facilitate workshops on hygienic practices, disease prevention, and community health.
3. Fighting for food security in Santa Julia
This project built 8 community plantations for the production of plantains and bananas in order to provide basic food security to Santa Julia community members. This project addressed an urgent local need for food security as Santa Julia has experienced food shortages and poor agricultural production in the last few years due to droughts linked to climate change. Plantations were established in the homes of eight women, all members of the Gloria Quintanilla Cooperative, this project's implementing partner. Each member received 157 plantain plants and 158 bananas plants. Plantains and all their varieties are a good alternative crop in dry areas like Santa Julia as they require less water compared to other plants.
Produce from the plantations will be divided amongst the families of the community, and the local children’s eatery "Cherished Children". The community eatery will receive 40% of the total produce to contribute to providing a weekly free lunch for food insecure local children. A further 20% will be for the families’ self-consumption and 35% will be sold in local vegetable markets to generate income for participating families.
4. Promoting and recuperating artistic and cultural identity in San Ramon, Matagalpa
This project provided visual arts, music, and dance classes to youth and children in San Ramon, Matagalpa, as a way of promoting ancestral knowledge and cultural expression, strengthening the self-esteem and cultural identity of the residents of San Ramon. The project directly benefited 120 children, youth, and adults.
The project provided artistic materials for the arts classes, and facilitated courses and training for participants in visual arts techniques. As part of the project, students in the art classes were involved in the elaboration of an artistic mural called "Indigenous Archers of Yucul", in homage to the indigenous archers of Yucul from the area of Matagalpa who participated in the Battle of San Jacinto on September 14, 1856. Additionally, the project funded a series of folkloric dance and traditional music classes with children, youth, and adults in order to recuperate indigenous knowledge and customs of the municipality.
5. Expanding Youth Engagement Programming and Improvements at Podcasts for Peace
Through a variety of workshops, courses, excursions, and other healthy activities, our 2017 project with Podcasts for Peace promoted education, gender equity and economic capacitation workshops for local seniors. Located in a low-resource neighbourhood a few blocks from the municipal dump in Managua, Nicaragua, Podcasts for Peace is a social justice community center that helps young adults become activists and leaders as they enrich the lives of children across three focus areas: Creative Expression, Literacy and Life Skills and Health and Wellness. Our 2017 project, also improved the infrastructure of their cultural center where all programming is hosted. The project focused on three local groups in vulnerable situations: seniors, women, and at-risk youth.
Specifically, our 2017 project with Podcasts for Peace promoted gender equity by engaging young men and women in gender-related workshops and support groups, developed local economic self-sufficiency by engaging the elderly in occupational training, and improved the infrastructural capacities of the center, including improvements to the electrical system, re-making the floor, re-installing a kitchen and washroom, and acquiring work tables.
6. Supporting "Los Cachorros" farm
This project improved the infrastructure of the agricultural area in the "Los Cachorros" farm, a shelter that houses at-risk boys and young men who are involved in the Los Quinchos program. The other part of the project saw the children and youth of Los Quinchos participate in workshops and training about the importance of environmental protection during environmental crisis and agricultural production. Children and youth attending Los Quinchos were trained in soil management, creating organic compost and fertilizer, proper planting techniques, and proper farm animal management. Through these activities, participants received vocational skills and training that will assist them in their future professional and vocational endeavours.
7. Supporting El Triunfo, Guatemala
For ten years, the El Triunfo Education Project has provided an affordable middle school education to indigenous Mayan children in the community of El Triunfo in the mountains of Solola, Guatemala. Classes from grades seven to nine are offered. The most recent school year began in January 2017 with sixty students enrolled in the school. From 2011 to 2016 classes at the high school level were also offered. Scholarships are also available to students enrolled in high school and university program. In 2017, we supported the school!
We can't wait to share our 2018 projects with you. Thank you for working for social justice and solidarity across borders with us!